Why I Started
Since launching Wear ‘Em Out in 2020, I’ve experienced exponential demand. More than I could ever have imagined. This makes me happy, obviously, but there are lots of other key and significant drivers behind the business.
When I first started the business we wanted to build a brand that people could relate to and a product people can trust. I had been a reusable period pad wearer for five years but hadn’t managed to find a stylish and practical pad that I was happy chatting to my friends about. One that would help open the conversation around reusable pads.
Alongside this, my daughter was getting to an age where was about to begin her periods. Through fear of her heading down the disposable route, I realised that if someone was going to stop this cycle, I was going to have to take action myself. So we set about designing and creating a must have period pad that bought reusables out of the shadows and into the hands of future generations.
Making Collective Change
The reason I am telling you this is because it’s the part of the business that makes me the happiest. The part that gets me out of bed in the morning, desperate to make a change. Since launching Wear ‘Em Out pads, I have been able to make connections with people of all ages, from all over the world, getting the opportunity to help them rethink their menstrual products as a collective good for the environment.
I’ve met the naysayers, the critics, the doubters, those that thought a reusable product was too icky, people that said a reusable wouldn’t provide the same protection as a disposable. I’ve met those that I describe as eco-curious. People who want to make sustainable change but haven’t quite made the switch yet. If I can convince just one person to make the switch to reusable pads, then it’s been a good day. I am a woman on a mission, a crusade to change our throwaway culture and preserve our planet.
Changing The Mindset
Did you know that a single disposable sanitary pad or tampon long outlives the person who wore it, taking up to 800 years to degrade? And that each year 4.3 billion disposable menstrual products end up in landfills? Since we launched, we have saved nearly eight million disposable products from being thrown away. Another happy dance from me.
Our recent survey found that most people that period are aged between 31-40 years old when they make the switch to reusables. That leaves a huge age gap between 12 (the average age a person starts their periods) and 30 years old. We know that sex education in schools tends to teach pupils about the disposable period protection options available. But we need to change this if we are ever going to make lasting change. With the majority of us learning about periods at school, it’s absolutely vital that teenagers are educated about other options available to them. This includes reusable pads, but there are also cups, period pants and other products out there which don’t need to be thrown away after a single use.
Not only are reusable products kinder to the environment, but they are kinder on our bodies as well as our wallets. Reusable pads are much more comfortable to wear. And don’t have the nasty chemicals and toxins that disposables do. A Wear ‘Em Out reusable pad costs around 0.06p per wear compared to a branded disposable pad which is closer to 12p per use. In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, these savings quickly add up.
You might be thinking that I’m a bit of an eco-warrior. I’m not. I shop on the high street, we’re a two car family and one of them is a diesel, I like the fancy packaging that comes with something nice. But I am now much more conscious about the impact these things have on the environment.
The Balancing Act
For me, it’s all about balance. That’s how I approach business as well. Running your own business is hard-graft and if you’re not careful it can become all-consuming. This means I have learnt to step away at times. It doesn’t always come easy. I love working on my business but I also love my family and friends and there is no point in running a successful business if you can’t enjoy the fruits of it too.
Spending time with my children keeps me grounded and that time is non-negotiable. Whether that’s coffee and cake with my son, or a weekend in Barcelona with my daughter. Stepping away also helps me gain perspective and its often when I have the best ideas for the business.
If I could leave you with one piece of advice, it to remember why you wanted to start in the first place. Keep that in mind at all times and make sure that everything you do brings you back to that point.
What does the future hold for Wear ‘Em Out? I’m not 100% sure yet, but one thing is certain. I will keep on banging the drum for more sustainable products, to help protect our planet, our purses and our wellbeing.
Have you ever used a reusable period pad?
If not is it something you’d think of trying after reading this article?
About The Author
Lauren Derrett is founder and CEO of Wear ‘Em Out, the award-winning reusable period pads. Launched in January 2020, the business is firmly leading the change in reusable period products.
Lauren left school aged 14 with no qualifications but went on to become a birth doula, hypno-birth teacher and placenta encapsualtor. Lauren also led an Instagram account called ‘This Girl is Enough’, a women’s empowerment brand where she was an active motivational speaker and held events to raise money for Women’s Aid (Lauren is a survivor of DV), going on to publish a book ‘Filter Free – Real Life Stories of Real Women’.
Wear ‘Em Out pads is proud to be a UK based business, run from North Essex, manufactured in Manchester and shipped worldwide. Pads are currently available in selected retail shops and available to order online: wearemout.co.uk